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Author Topic: Best universities in the UK for studying physics and mathematics?  (Read 6527 times)

Offline Lamprey5

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What are the best universities in the UK for physics/astronomy/cosmology and mathematics? The Russell Group looks excellent. I've applied to University of Cambridge, Edinburgh (from whom I've got an offer), Imperial College London, University College London and University of Warwick.
I'm looking for a research-intensive university with low student-faculty ratio, and high student satisfaction. Essentially as close to Cambridge as possible.

But I'm thinking I should pick a better choice than Warwick.. does anyone have suggestions or advice from personal experience?



 

Offline Soul Surfer

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University College London is by far the best!!  It has the best balance between pure science rounded by arts and history.  Mind you I am prejudiced.  I went there.  A very long time ago!   :-))
 

Offline techmind

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I second the votes for University College London. Also 'cos I went there (1993-1997, 1997-2001, ug & pg)
UCL physics is good, and they probably have a much bigger astronomy dept than their rivals to boot.
UCL is more balanced than say Imperial in terms of having the full gamut of sciences, arts and humanities, rather than being purely technology-focussed. This shouldn't affect your course, but affects your potential pool of friends!
If you're applying to Cambridge then you need to get your application in fast... historically Ox/Bridge does interviews in November/December.
 

Offline Geezer

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The best English universities are in Scotland  :D
 

Offline Lamprey5

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I second the votes for University College London. Also 'cos I went there (1993-1997, 1997-2001, ug & pg)
UCL physics is good, and they probably have a much bigger astronomy dept than their rivals to boot.
UCL is more balanced than say Imperial in terms of having the full gamut of sciences, arts and humanities, rather than being purely technology-focussed. This shouldn't affect your course, but affects your potential pool of friends!
If you're applying to Cambridge then you need to get your application in fast... historically Ox/Bridge does interviews in November/December.
Thanks for the advice! I'm glad I applied to UCL, it looks excellent. My Cambridge application is submitted. Now I just wait for the interview and try my best to get 7,7,7 in HL maths, physics and chemistry, and 40 points overall. :P
How is the student:professor ratio at UCL from your recollection?
 

Offline imatfaal

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The science and engineering at ic.ac.uk is pretty amazing too!  I hate to say it that if you get a chance at Cambridge jump at it - cos if you get bored of science you can always lever that university name for a good alternative career.

London university life is pretty amazing - but can be overwhelming and very expensive.  There are a lot of reprobates who honed their social skills at ULU (university of london union) on gower street.  i might have crossed paths with techmind without knowing it in his/her final pg year - but he/she probably didnt associate with law students!  and then there is the all night spanish bar at the bottom of tottenham court road - which is frankly worth visiting at any time (last tuesday in fact)
 

Offline damocles

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I second the votes for University College London. Also 'cos I went there (1993-1997, 1997-2001, ug & pg)
UCL physics is good, and they probably have a much bigger astronomy dept than their rivals to boot.
UCL is more balanced than say Imperial in terms of having the full gamut of sciences, arts and humanities, rather than being purely technology-focussed. This shouldn't affect your course, but affects your potential pool of friends!
If you're applying to Cambridge then you need to get your application in fast... historically Ox/Bridge does interviews in November/December.
Thanks for the advice! I'm glad I applied to UCL, it looks excellent. My Cambridge application is submitted. Now I just wait for the interview and try my best to get 7,7,7 in HL maths, physics and chemistry, and 40 points overall. :P
How is the student:professor ratio at UCL from your recollection?

My recollection (from 40 years ago) is of a student:lecturer ratio in the chemistry department at UCL of about 2:1 . Things have changed a bit since those days, but when I last visited about 15 years ago it still had a very low ratio relative to other places, maybe about 8:1 but do not quote me on it -- 'tis only a guess.

The other thing I would say is not to write off Warwick University: it is a very attractive and very well run institution. I know little about the Physics Department, but I have had a few dealings with some impressive and interesting people in the Maths Department. (I was, of course, based in the Chemistry Department for the year of 1994 which I spent there. I believe that that particular Department is now struggling a little).
« Last Edit: 24/10/2011 14:42:14 by damocles »
 

Offline Geezer

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My recollection (from 40 years ago) is......
 

I'm surprised you can recollect any of it if you were there 40 years ago. As the saying goes, "If you can remember the Sixties, you weren't there."  ;D

 

Offline damocles

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My recollection (from 40 years ago) is......
 

I'm surprised you can recollect any of it if you were there 40 years ago. As the saying goes, "If you can remember the Sixties, you weren't there."  ;D



You are probably right, Geezer, but then I was not there in the 60s. 2011-40 = 1971. I was at UCL (2 postdocs) 1970-1973.
 

Offline Geezer

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My recollection (from 40 years ago) is......
 

I'm surprised you can recollect any of it if you were there 40 years ago. As the saying goes, "If you can remember the Sixties, you weren't there."  ;D



You are probably right, Geezer, but then I was not there in the 60s. 2011-40 = 1971. I was at UCL (2 postdocs) 1970-1973.

Ah yes, but if you remember (well, you probably won't of course) the "sixties" really spanned the years from 1963 to 1974.

"This "cultural decade" is more loosely defined than the actual decade, beginning around 1963 and ending around 1974."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960s
« Last Edit: 24/10/2011 22:42:18 by Geezer »
 

Offline damocles

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Back in the 60s, which I probably do not recall all that well, I am as sure as one can be that the "sixties" were defined as 1960-1969. I am fairly confident that this 1963 to 1974 idea is a reinvention by those who really have forgotten it all.

 ;D
 

Offline Lamprey5

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Has anybody any experience with Edinburgh? What is it like compared to Cambridge?
 

Offline Geezer

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Edinburgh used to have an excellent engineering school, but I don't know what it's like these days, although I would guess it's still very good. I could not really comment on the areas you are interested in, but I would think they would be very good too. Edinburgh has a vibrant and diverse campus, but the university does not tend to dominate the landscape as much as, say, Oxford and Cambridge. Depending on your point of view, that could be good or not so good.
 

Offline imatfaal

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Has anybody any experience with Edinburgh? What is it like compared to Cambridge?

Cold and very windy.  Joking aside - when living on a strictly limited budget those sorts of things matter.  I love Edinburgh as a city - and went there every year for the festival and fringe whilst I was at Uni, but not sure I would have wanted to study there.
 

Offline Pmb

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What are the best universities in the UK for physics/astronomy/cosmology and mathematics? The Russell Group looks excellent. I've applied to University of Cambridge, Edinburgh (from whom I've got an offer), Imperial College London, University College London and University of Warwick.
I'm looking for a research intensive university with low  ratio, and high student satisfaction. Essentially as close to Cambridge as possible.

But I'm thinking I should pick a better choice than Warwick.. does anyone have suggestions or advice from personal experience?


In my very humble opinion (since I live in the USA) I would go to the university and seek out the best science teacher at that university/college you're thinking of attending. Then I'll, with all this information, I'd choose the university/college with the best teachers that I will be taking in my career.

The best schools are the best because they hire the best teachers, which is not to say that the rest of the school is of low character.

For example; if you were in the USA and you regally want to get into MIT then two things apply (1) what do you bring into the school (they only select the best students) and (2) who are the best teachers that you'll be taking. But, MIT, your first year of grades are wiped clean. MIT gives you either a pass or go.
 

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